The Rise Of Skywalker is almost here. Nearly half a century in the making, this movie is destined to please some, anger others, and make a pile of cash in the process. But is it going to be the Star Wars movie we all want it to be? There’s a lot at stake here for the future, and Disney is facing a big risk in this last instalment of the saga. The Risk Of Skywalker (otherwise known as you cant please everyone).
George Lucas, begins his story of Luke Skywalker in the early 70’s, and changes the world on May 25th 1977 with the release of Star Wars. The cinematic equivalent of splitting the atom, brought forth a chain reaction of imitation across every imaginable medium. From the abysmal Turkish Star Wars to this 1982 New Zealand chocolate bar advert, everyone copied the form but failed to capture the substance of Star Wars.
Lucas returned to his creation, to continue the story of the Skywalker line with 1999’s Episode One : The Phantom Menace. This film and it’s two sequels, collectively known as the prequel trilogy tell the story of Luke Skywalker’s father Anakin and his journey to the dark side of the force. During the release of these movies, fans began to suspect Lucas had fallen into the trap himself, and was merely copying the style of Star Wars, without being able to provide the spark of excitement he brought to the first trilogy.
This is the critical point in the Skywalker saga, and the Star Wars saga as a whole. Three ‘good’ movies, and three ‘bad’ movies, and everyone disagrees about who to blame, and what to do? What should even be allowed to be called a real Star Wars movie, and who is a real Star Wars fan? It didn’t start with The Last Jedi, and if you are old enough to remember, it actually began with the holiday special in 1978. People have been mad at Star Wars almost since the very beginning.
Despite peoples mixed emotions, Star Wars has continued to be revered and demand remains high for more instalments of the Skywalker saga. One camp of fans wants all new material, exploring some of the unseen regions of the galaxy. Another type of fan wants to dig deep into the worlds we have already seen and clamours for Ewen McGregor to play Obi Wan again.
The purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney came with the promise of the completion of the Skywalker saga, Episodes VII, VIII, and IX would finally be made. Lucasfilm sought a director to create the new trilogy and every major name in Hollywood politely declined, remembering that criticism even drove George Lucas away. J.J .Abrams had to be talked into directing The Force Awakens, and new directors were hired for VIII and IX, one of whom ultimately was replaced by a returning Abrams. This brings us up to date, but we’re not done yet. The Force Awakens relies heavily on A New Hope for it’s story, and The Last Jedi has spawned a thousand angry YouTube videos for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the death (at the time of writing Luke appears to be dead) of Luke Skywalker himself. Spoilers.
Lucasfilm has found itself in a strange position, to be in charge of one of the most popular properties in history, yet there seems to be no right answer anymore. No way to please everyone. This then is The Risk Of Skywalker. Lucasfilm can make something totally unrelated to the core Skywalker story, such as The Mandalorian. Initially well received by pretty much everyone, but only six episodes in and opinion is beginning to turn. Or they can orbit Luke’s family era one more time like Rogue One and Solo did, and be berated for relying on the movies everyone loved in the first place. Everyone except the people who said…
- Marcia Lucas ruined Star Wars with the holiday special.
- Ewoks ruined Return Of The Jedi
- George Lucas ruined Star Wars with his special edition alterations
- George Lucas ruined my childhood with the prequels
- Jar Jar ruined Star Wars, but the prequels were aight
- George Lucas ruined Star Wars by selling to Disney
- Disney ruined Star Wars by making The Force Awakens copy A New Hope
- Rian Johnson ruined Star Wars with ‘insert whatever you’re mad about’
Like Luke walking out of fire to face down The First Order on Crait, Episode IX will soon appear to face down all sorts of criticism. Many people have already decided it is a failure based on Episodes VII and VIII. Lets look at some of the most likely outcomes and see if there can be a happy ending (for Lucasfilm, not necessarily the movie). I have not read any leaks, do not know any plot points outside of the trailers, and could be entirely wrong in anything I’m saying, BUT.
If you are the sort that has avoided forming an opinion of your own so far, you might want to stop reading now. In order from least, to most likely, here are the options on the table.
Rey turns / Kylo turns / both turn and swap sides entirely / Rey and Kylo team up.
Anything in this realm will probably not go over well. People seem to think there is a chance this will happen especially after the reveal of Dark Rey in a trailer. Of course that could be a dream or any other sort of story telling device, or just a red herring that doesn’t appear in the film at all. Unless the title is extremely cryptic, Kylo is the only Skywalker left in the game unless there is some truly amazing Princess Leia footage to come.
Or maybe Mecha-Shmi.
The Emperor wins somehow.
The Emperor ‘winning’ somehow and retaining control of The Empire would undo everything from Return Of The Jedi onwards and the galaxy would go back to being under Palpatine’s control. The sequel trilogy would be rendered pointless, and we would then want to know what happens next. A cliffhanger does not make for a good ending to a Nonology.
The Emperor loses somehow.
This would either leave us with a First Order, a new Light Side faction, or both. This is also a return to status quo, and makes the sequel trilogy pointless again. This would not be an ending so much as coming full circle.
The safest way forward.
In order to make the most people happy. And make the most money for the shareholders. To restore some goodwill to the brand. And finally end the story in the way a fairy-tale would. Good should in some way triumph over evil because Star Wars after all, is a fairy tale – it just happens to be set in space. Whether this is through heroic sacrifice, evil turning on itself, or any other traditional folk tale type story resolution it doesn’t make much difference.
But is this what you want? To be safe? And if it is the ending you want to the saga, is it THE END of the story?
Luckily there is only a short time to wait to find out for ourselves. After four decades, we are about to get the ending to the saga. Let’s hope it is worth the wait. I’ll see you at the movies.
The Force Will Be With Us. Always.